Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jones-ing for some intimacy in marriage

My wife, Velvet, and I were honored to be the keynotes last night at a marriage dinner. We decided not to present a bunch of marital tips and tricks. Rather, the message was focused on the imperative that we become intimate with God, surrender to his will, and allow him to transform us. This will lead to intimacy in marriage.

We spent a lot of time telling personal experiences and stories about our marriage – the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, I will spare you from that and leave you with these random excerpts and bullet points from the talk:
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Let's start with the definition of Jones-ing: To have an eager or intense desire. For instance, "I'm really jonesing for a cup of coffee right about now."

Types of Intimacy in Marriage: Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual

Most men lean toward physical intimacy while women desire emotional intimacy. However, the most important intimacy that your marriage needs is spiritual intimacy. In fact, the more spiritually intimate you become, the more emotional and physical intimacy you will experience.

Q: So, how do we grow our spiritual intimacy? How do we become more spiritually intimate?
A: Each of you must become intimate with God and grow in that intimacy.

Developing solid relationship on earth (like our marriage) begins by developing a solid relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

God’s love enables spouses to develop deeper emotional & physical intimacy when they are engaged in fulfilling Christ’s goals for their own lives. Jesus said, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you." - Matt. 6:33. Ask the Lord to help you fulfill all of Christ’s goals in your own life and also ask the Spirit to draw you together in the process as a couple.

So, how do we get intimate with our Lord and Savior? How do we know more about God? Remember, you can’t get intimate without developing a deep and growing knowledge.

* We read His Word, pray, and fast. (this is how we get to know God more and to know who we are in Christ)
* We learn what He likes and dislikes. We learn about His love for us and how we can show Him love.
* We learn that God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to live and die for us.
* As we learn and put into practice this new knowledge, we change.
* We learn that when we surrender and submit to Him he changes us – we become transformed into new people. (could your marriage use a little bit of that?)
* He gives us all we need to put sin to death. (Titus 2:11-12 & 1 Cor. 10:13)
* That’s right, sin begins to disappear: lust, anger, selfishness, pride, materialism, jealousy, etc…
* You begin to exhibit: love, joy, peace, gentleness (kindness), goodness, patience, faithfulness, meekness, & self control (could your marriage use more of these qualities?)
* Bottom line, you become easier to love because you are becoming more like Christ!
* How do you change your marriage? You change!
* How do you change? You die to self and become intimate with God!
* Changed people = changed marriages. People living for God (rather than for themselves)= marital bliss!

We also briefly discussed emotional and physical intimacy since they are a result of increased spiritual intimacy. I used statements like, "from the Bible to the bedroom." It got a little crazy at this point, but it was fun. We'll leave it at that.

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